Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Note: I will probably not be commenting on other blogs today... nor writing another entry on this one. My recovery from this type of upset isn't easy. Just because I chose it and brought it on myself doesn't mean there's no price to be paid for it. I really need some refuge time. I will miss all of you though, and appreciate and value every single one of you! Namaste, Ch.


First of all, I want to apologize to anyone who might have found some of my actions disturbing yesterday.

Why did I fight so hard?

I know I exposed a side of me that few have ever seen, particularly since my "conversion" to Thai culture so many years ago now.

On the surface, it might have appeared that I was fighting for my ego.

I was not.

I was fighting as a matter of honor. Honoring of an idea that I believe has merit. It's certainly not an original idea. It's not "my" idea. It's an idea that has been written about by historians and philosophers with five times the brain power of mine. Hegel and Marx, just to name a few.

Sometimes for a variety of reasons, ideas get thrown off the table, simply because they are difficult to deal with ~ or they're too challenging ~ or they're uncomfortable. When we're dealing with a topic as serious as racism, we don't always get to sit back and be comfortable.

I've learned that running away from conflict is sometimes just as unhealthy as running to it. There have been people around who thrive on it, find excitement in it and relish every moment of conflict they can find. I am not one of those people.

If this had just been a question of ego, I would have dropped it. Instead, I continued to fight. And I possibly hurt some feelings along the way. For that, I am truly sorry but I'm not sorry for fighting for my position. I'm not sorry for defending those I believe had a right to be defended. I choose my battles fairly carefully and this one was worth it. To me.

That is a part of me, too. I am a warrior for the things I care about, the things that matter. My archetype is Minerva. While I value kindness and compassion, I also value honor and courage. I don't always manifest it perfectly and I don't always do it with finesse but please don't mistake my passion for anything other than what it is: a sincere caring for others and a sincere distaste for certain things being the way they are in the world.

Sometimes we just have to stand up. Even when we risk judgment and the anger of others.

For anyone who was upset with me, disturbed by me or hurt by me, I ask your forgiveness. I also ask for your understanding.



heartinsanfrancisco said...

Chani, I understand, as anyone who knows you would, that your stand was about honor, and no culture worth a damn would preach tolerating dishonor.

I don't think that Jesus meant "walk on me some more" when he said to turn the other cheek. I think his directive was about standing firm in oneself and not running away from conflict, but it is usually misinterpreted.

The gentlest people are often the fiercest warriors. Those who constantly stir up discord cannot be taken seriously because they go to war over everything. Those who choose their battles carefully and even reluctantly are the ones I listen to.

Good on you for being true to yourself and for being a champion of ideas, even when they are unpopular.

Snoskred said...

Understanding.. that's an interesting concept and one of the major points I was trying to make as a part of the discussion.

I watched a movie the other day that really hit me like a tonne of bricks. It was At First Sight which was based on a true story about a blind man who was blind for many years then had an operation which enabled him to see. When he could see, at first he couldn't understand what he was seeing unless he was touching it. He'd relied on touch and sound as senses for so long. He could not tell the difference between a real apple and a photograph of an apple.

Just when he was getting the hang of being able to see, he began to have blackouts of vision. He went back to the doctor and was told he probably had 2 weeks to a month before he was completely blind again. So he spent most of that time absorbing images, looking at photographs in magazines, trying to get as many visual images into his head as he could.

I was a crying sobbing mess for most of the second half of this movie. I've never been blind, I do have to wear glasses but that's nothing compared to what this guy went through.

If I went on their logic of you can't understand something unless you've experienced it personally, I would have been able to sit there and not get upset and just enjoy the beauty of Val Kilmer.

I'm not sure I necessarily agree with you about economic inequality - I can see how it might seem that way in the US - however in Australia it's a different situation as far as economics go - here in this country there is a lot of racism towards Asians and they are generally higher earners than the "whites". . Oh, how offensive I find that term, but let's not go there again. However I support your right to speak your opinion, and I support our right to discuss it till we're blue in the face if we want to, regardless of the color of our skin.

I agree this was a time to stand up. Good on both yourself and Flutter for doing so. That takes balls, ladies. ;) Wear them with pride!

If you didn't read this article, which I posted today on my blog, it's worth a look.

Do we really need a law to protect fat workers


slouching mom said...

I hope you didn't think I was offended, because I wasn't.

Not at all. I just thought that it might be a good time to spell out the assumptions people were bringing to the conversational table.

And these assumptions in their barest form have tormented the brightest minds for centuries.

But I didn't need you to "dial it down" -- my observations held for all the participants in that comment thread.


flutter said...

Love you. Steel Cajones.

liv said...

I am glad that you did this follow up post for one reason: the explanation. I believe everyone should have the chance to say what they'd like to say and what they believe in. But, I am pretty fierce that people at least acknowledge that their beliefs are theirs (quite possibly) alone. Maybe I'm in the difficult position of being so open to other beliefs that I start to regard them as opinions. I do not necessarily agree with you 100% off the cuff, but I also recognize that your position as nonthreatening to me.

Hel said...

I think you did right to speak out but and don't shoot me for this I went to read the post and comments and I think there were misunderstandings but not deliberate rudeness.

I understand what you mean about feeling excluded because whiteness but I also think people have a right to share their feelings about growing up being told they are not good enough.

And they agreed that white people have their own burdens to carry.

So unless I am missing something I really believe that no disrespect towards you or white people was ever intended.

Our race and the way we were and still are treated are part of who we are and we can never change that. Or know what it feels or felt like for anyone else. And that is ok.

I want to believe that we can build a better future without ever having to disregard the effects of our past.

Mary said...


I'm way to late for the party but I just wanted to say you have a huge heart and deserve to be heard and understood.


thailandchani said...

Susan, thanks. :) It's often harder than I'd anticipate.. but it's like a muscle.. and I need to learn how to use it. Perhaps more effectively.. perhaps differently.. but I do have to be honorable. I can't throw that down the tubes for acceptance.


Snos, my point about economic inequality didn't have to do with that in the sense you are putting it. I'm talking macro.. the fact that capitalism will not survive without an institutional underclass. So, certainly, there will be members of any marginalized group who are the exceptions. Still... historically.. capitalism will not survive without the oppressed.

Still, your point is taken. Thanks.


SM, in no way did I think you were offended. I appreciate your voice of reason in all of this.


Flutter, thank you. Love you, too :)


Liv, absolutely! My beliefs are strong on some things.. but they are definitely my own. I would never try to impose them on others, overtly or covertly. For the most part, since none of us have the Absolute Truth, I suppose these beliefs really *are* opinions. :)

No, I am no threat to anyone.


Hel, thanks for your thoughts, too :) I don't think this was so much about white people... although, yes, there is a presumption that there are experiences white people will never understand. In the broadest sense, that's true.. but in a more specific sense, the sense being discussed over there, it was not an accurate position. Anyone who has been marginalized or discriminated against in their culture of origin certainly does understand. It's a common experience. Even though the packaging might be different, it's the same thing.




Hel said...

Big hug*

QT said...

Chani - I leave the blogosphere and look what happens!

FWIW, I went back and read it all. While I see how you got to the place you did, this one passage from the OP stands out to me-

I can't shake the feeling that only white people don't see color because well, they don't have to. When you're the majority and part of the race that dictates what's "normal", race isn't much of an issue to you personally.

The last fragment "race isn't much of an issue to you personally" I think is the key. I don't think anyone in the discussion was trying to be rude to you at all. I think there was a LOT of misunderstanding, as there would be when a topic like this is discussed in an electronic forum, without the benefit of inflection or tone. For you -Chani -personally, was race an issue for you growing up? Did it affect your ability to access services and education that helped you better yourself? YES, you had other issues, but from what I know of your life (granted, what you have chosen to share), race was not one of them. I think that is all she was trying to say.

The overwhelming point of her post was that sometimes she WANTS people to take her racial or ethnic based experiences into account when reading her blog- and you basically went there and told her you don't care about race, it is irrelevant in your eyes. I wonder if you can see how your statement, the way it was written, could have been hurtful or made a person who identifies very closely with their ethnic heritage feel like THEY are irrelevant?

ANYWAY -you have a right to your opinion, and from a socio-economic standpoint, yes, I agree with you. A kid with a dad who is a lawyer and a mom who is a doctor has a better chance of going to school without the distraction of an empty stomach, regardless of his race.

And Chani - just let me finish by saying I understand why you felt the way you did. I think that discussion would have benefitted from moderation of some kind.

MsLittlePea said...

Chani-I enjoyed reading these posts and the comments over at BlogRhet. I liked how you and flutter handled a situation that could have been an honest discussion on an important topic but seemed to turn into a highschool lunch table. I tend to stay away from topics of race, even though I have strong feelings about it, because generally, in my experience, I find no one ever discusses or wants to understand biraciality.(I know that's not a word but I'm going to use it anyway) I have a Caucasian father and an Asian mother. I can not be one or the other. It always seems in those conversations one has to identify herself as either THIS or THAT--this tends to make me feel like I don't exist so I prefer to speak about these things with my fellow 'mixed' friends, who up until I began to read blogs including and especially yours, thought were the only ones who understood that sort of feeling;That feeling of being in but not really BELONGING in. And never being enough of one or the other so you get the double snub from both of your cultures.

I wasn't the least bit offended by anything you said nor would I have been had I thought you were wrong. (Which I didn't) I thought you were right to feel the way you did. Any discussion that avoids the minority opinion(no pun intended) isn't really a discussion, it's just a bunch of people talking AT each other.

painted maypole said...

Chani - i am just catching up on my blog reading, and haven't looked over at blogrhet yet, so can't speak specifically about the heated debate, but this I know: That your blog always makes me think, you challenge me to see a new perspective, and through you I see love and peace shine. If anyone is familiar with your blog that would have to know that you come from a place that seeks out love and respect and varied ideas.

That being said, as I read over your posts since I was gone (there is just no way to respond to them all!) I was particularly taken with your post about transexuals, because this is something I struggle with. I can certainly accept the person, and am comfortable using whatever pronoun they prefer, etc, but I struggle with the idea of being "born the wrong sex" What makes sense to me is that our culture is so quick to decide how certain people (whether it be gender or nationality or religious affiliation) is supposed to think and behave, that if you don't think and behave that way, you want to find the "group" that you do "belong" to. And I think there is nothing wrong with deciding you are more comfortable living another place, dressing a different way, and behaving a different way. And it seems to me you wrote about this in other posts as well (or was it the same one?) that you can't know the experience of growing up something other than how you did, but you can find that you like a different culture, and begin that conversion in yourself. Anyhow... you have challenged me to think, once again, and I have appreciated your openness. Thanks, Chani, for not silencing yourself.

jen said...

i am catching up on this myself and want to say that i agree with many of the thoughts expressed here, QT and Hel's especially rang true.

I realize why you need to take some space and I honor that too.

mitzh said...

I am so late. My apologies...

First, we're just human and when pushed we tend to fight back, to be speak up and be heard.

I understand you. I believe that you have a wonderful heart and standing up in what you believe is something not a lot of people can do.

Emily said...


I think that every viewpoint, when taken as gospel, can be oppressive. I am truly sorry to hear you were treated to a big helping of that.